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American Girl to introduce new Korean-American and Native Hawaiian Dolls

A Korean-American aspiring filmmaker and a Native Hawaiian who helps with the war effort during World War II are among the new dolls American Girl is set to release this year.

American Girl announced the introduction of the new dolls along with the news that the company will be releasing its first male doll on Wednesday. A new African-American doll, Gabriela McBride, has been available in stores since January.

The new Korean-American American Girl is named Z. Yang.
A Korean American, Z. Yang is described as a creative aspiring filmmaker. American Girl

Since American Girl characters and stories help build self-confidence, inspire creativity, and give girls a broader understanding of the world—we now have even more for parents like you to love too,” the company said in a statement.

Z. Yang, the new Korean-American character, is described as a “an imaginative filmmaker” who uses her creative talents to connect with the people around her. “Her stories remind girls that everyone has a unique perspective to share—even if it’s not perfect,” the site reads. She is expected to be released this spring.

Yang is the company’s first Asian-American doll since Ivy Ling was retired by the company in 2014.

Set for a fall release is Nanea Mitchell, a Native Hawaiian girl growing up during World War II in what was then a U.S. territory. “Nanea’s stories teach girls that kokua—doing good deeds and giving selflessly—sometimes require sacrifice,” American Girl writes on its site.

Nanea Mitchell, the new Native Hawaiian American Girl doll.
Nanea Mitchell learns the importance of generosity and sacrifice throughout her stories. 

 

According to American Girl, the new dolls are a direct response to requests from parents and children for more diverse stories.

We do an enormous amount of research with girls and their parents,” Julie Parks, a spokesperson for American Girl, told TODAY.

The one thing we’ve heard loud and clear is a desire for more — specifically more characters and stories from today — with more experiences, more diversity, and more interests.”

NBC: ‘Operation Chromite’ focuses on ‘Forgotten’ Korean War, bridging US and Korean cinema

 

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NBC News (by Stephany Bai):

Despite heavy involvement from the U.S. military, the Korean War is often referred to as “the forgotten war” because of its relatively low profile in history, according to military historians.

A new film, “Operation Chromite,” is spotlighting one of the key figures of the war, United States Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Liam Neeson portrays MacArthur in the film and is joined by two major Korean actors, Bum Soo Lee and Jung Jae Lee, in telling the story of the amphibious landing at Incheon, which the filmmakers say was one of the most consequential moments of the war. The movie, which makes its American debut on Aug. 12, opened at number one in South Korea, according to Variety.

[MacArthur] is a very well-known and respected figure in South Korea,” Bum Soo Lee told NBC News. “There may be people who have different ideologies in Korea, but overall the Korean people appreciate and respect what [General MacArthur and the US military] did.”

Liam Neeson, center, portrays Gen. Douglas MacArthur in “Operation Chromite,” a new movie about the Korean War. 

He added that the events portrayed in the film, and the people behind them, are directly responsible for the growth of South Korea, noting that the South Korean soldiers had been on the verge of giving up a key military stronghold when MacArthur executed the Incheon landing operation.

The Battle of Incheon and the landing operation cut the supply chain of the North Korean military and soldiers, and that contributed a lot to turning the tide of the war,” he said. “That lead to building democracy in South Korea and contributed to the economic growth that we’re seeing to this day.

Bum Soo Lee, center, in “Operation Chromite”

Bum Soo Lee plays the villain of the film, a North Korean spy, while Jung Jae Lee is a South Korean commander who infiltrates the North Korean army. Both actors emphasized to NBC News the research and preparation they did for the film.

What we as actors, as well as the director, focus so much on is speaking towards the truth,” Bum Soo Lee said. “This movie is based on a true event, on history. There was a lot of pressure on our shoulders because we were telling the story of these unsung heroes, who sacrificed themselves in the war, and we really wanted to pay respect to them.”

Jung Jae Lee added that the same was true for Neeson. “[Neeson] created new scenes and suggestions that were incorporated because he really tried his best to depict the real character,” Jung Jae Lee said. “The amount of effort he put into the character was really impressive.”

Jung Jae Lee said that he believes “Operation Chromite” represents a step toward greater collaboration between Hollywood and the Korean movie industry.

These days you see a lot of Hollywood movies open in advance in Korea, and big actors coming to promote their movies in Korea,” he said. “I can’t say there are a lot of Korean actors working in Hollywood, but the few we do already have are doing a great job in TV and movies. I believe that we’ll be able to see more of that in the near future.”

Korean female bodybuilder Jhi Yeon-woo breaks hearts and beauty standards

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Korean female bodybuilder Jhi Yeon-woo is probably going to break the internet with her rock-hard muscles.

Yeon-woo has competed in female bodybuilding contests both in South Korea and internationally, winning several of them. She’s become a bit of a celebrity in her home country, where her atypically adorable appearance has earned her the nickname “King Kong Barbie.”

Yeon-woo, 31, boasts a healthy following of nearly 35,000 followers on her Instagram account. and 37,000 on her Facebook page.

She has competed in female bodybuilding contests at home and abroad, winning international competitions and in her home country of South Korea. Yeon-woo competed in her debut competition at the 2010 Korea YMCA and won.

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She is promoter of Advanced Performance Nutrition Supplements, a company “committed to introducing to the athletic community new, effective and ‘state-of-the-art’ performance enhancing products.”

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In 2013, Yeon-woo won the Arnold Classic Europe Women’s Physique competition.

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Yeon-woo has also been featured on the YouTube channel of Bodybuilding League, an online blog magazine covering lifestyle, diet and nutrition news for fitness fanatics.

And just in case there are any doubters, here’s a video of Yeon-woo posing and taking pictures with fans during the 2014 Olympia, “Meet the Olympians” event.